Like Family: Big and smaller residential villages across the Charleston area attract parents and children with spiffs, down home feel

The Riverwood apartment complex from Darby Development in Mount Pleasant sports a hammock park, one of a host of family-friendly features at the management company’s communities (Provided).

A new Goose Creek neighborhood named for a 17th century plantation champions its climbing wall, touts $170,000 homes and cites schools “at your fingertips.”

Across town, tenants find out they can enjoy a playground, hammock park, resort swimming pool with Wi-Fi and computer nooks at an apartment-home setting in North Charleston.

What ties Brock Built homes’ Medway Landing single-family community to the North Bluff rental property off St. Ives Road is they both subtly promote their family friendly surroundings.

That’s not unusual in the Charleston area, which has expanded as a metro center to more than 700,000 people while attracting large employers and sporting a half-dozen or more master-planned communities designed with amenities, shopping strips, recreational centers and educational facilities.

Mount Pleasant-based Park West, for instance, touts primary, elementary and middle schools; a covered swimming center; shops and stores; a track; baseball parks; soccer fields; and a small football stadium.

In Summerville, Pine Forest Country Club boasts a championship golf course; Junior Olympic-sized swimming pool; cabana; clubhouse; and tennis courts.

National homebuilder D.R. Horton launched an enclave in Pine Forest just across from the pool and clubhouse complex. The company is framing homes from just less than $250,000 and up and sized from 1,718-4,062 square feet — plenty of space for a good-sized family or for empty nesters to house kin arriving for a visit.

Exact figures on the number of homebuyers or tenants with children in greater Charleston were hard to come by.

But Victoria Cowart, vice president of property management with Darby Development Co., took a pulse poll of the company’s 14 apartment-home villages locally and found a healthy share of parents and youngsters under the same roof.

“We are seeing roughly 28 percent of our move-ins are ‘families’ where at least one member of the household is under the age of 18,” she says.

The breakdown differed geographically: “Only one of our Mount Pleasant communities has a significant presence with 60 percent of their recent move-ins being families,” she says. Three others are in the 0-10 percent range.

By contrast, “Summerville is on the high side with 30-60 percent and Moncks Corner is up there with 50 percent,” Cowart notes.

Among the most family-friendly from an amenities standpoint is North Bluff, a couple of blocks from Rivers Avenue near Northwoods Estates.

On its website, the complex highlights an expanded exercise center, tennis courts, sand volleyball court, “tot lot,” and grills in addition to the pool, park, playground and computers.

Cowart says that Darby Development ’s tenant mix at its various communities includes almost all types. There are “young adults, young adults with kids, rightsizing, downsizing,” she says.

Brock Built, meanwhile, promotes dining and shopping as well as nearby schools at Medway Landing, a neighborhood of 104 home sites a few minutes from Crowfield Country Club. The model home is at 99 Hyrne Drive.

The neighborhood gets its name from Medway Plantation, a long-time hunting retreat; bird sanctuary for red woodpeckers, bald eagles and wood ducks; and privately-owned 6,695-acre land tract with English country home, guest houses, lakefront lodge, formal gardens and horse stables.

Medway Landing offers one- and two-story floor plans ranging from 1,766 to 3,068 square feet, which would be considered family-sized. Prices start at the $170,000s, which is just below the median cost in the Goose Creek-Moncks Corner area, according to Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.

The community is a few miles from the Naval Weapons Station, Charleston Air Force Base, Northwoods Mall, SPAWAR, Boeing, Charleston International Airport, Trident Hospital and Charleston Southern University, among other major employers.

Within the neighborhood, “You can easily enjoy the local recreational center which offers a fitness center, climbing wall and various classes that suits all fitness levels,” according to Medway Landing’s marketing staff.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or